Tag Archives: MIP

MIP panels mounted, Auto-brake and Loudspeaker panel testing.

The delivery of the MIP, auto-brake, loudspeaker and landing gear lever has arrived!

This weekend I took delivery of my first order of panels and hardware, I spent saturday mounting the panels and making a few alterations to the MIP frame to ensure the ECAM monitor fitted correctly. I soon realised that the 19inch wide-screen is actually too narrow and actually longer than required so I will eventually switch this out for a standard 19inch monitor which should then mean I can make use of both of the upper left standby instrument windows.

Testing flight for the new panel’s and electronics.

After a whole day of soldering the Korry switches in the auto-brake and loudspeaker panel I managed to give them a ‘test-flight’ from Belfast (EGAA) to London Stansted (EGSS) with a greased landing rate of -131fpm 🙂 – I took various photo’s of the panels and korry LED’s in action which can be seen on the photo gallery page.

I’ve also posted a quick ‘test’ video on YouTube showing the panels and korry switches in action 🙂 – The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/Kh2Ri2Xju2w.

The two PC setup running the flight simulator and flight deck.

I’ve now properly configured my second PC for off-loading some of the tasks of the main FSX PC (FS-MASTER) onto a new PC (FS-CTRL1) which now runs WideFS, ActiveSky, pmSounds SIOC (all USBOutput cards are connected to this PC). Now that the Auto-brake panel and Loudspeaker panel I also tested connecting the BBI-32 card to the remote PC and to my surprise I am extremely pleased to report that you can have BBI-32 and BU0836X cards connected to a remote PC using WideFS and it still registers button presses etc on the main FSX PC… which is awesome meaning that I will now connect both you input cards and output cards to the second PC all communication with the main FSX PC is then done over WideFS. Meaning that now the only thing my main FSX PC (FS-MASTER) does is run FSX, run the four displays (external view, PFD/ND, ECAM and standby instruments) and will have the side-stick, pedels and throttle levers leaving the other tasks (Weather Engine (ActiveSky 2012), ATC (FSInn), Flight deck sounds (pmSounds), Running the USBOutput cards (SIOC) and have all the BBI-32 cards to run the MIP panel switches and the OHP switches and rotaty encoders).

More updates soon! 🙂


MIP I/O board complete!

The completed MIP I/O distribution board

Following on from my last blog post when I started working on my MIP I/O distribution board, after a couple of days at Legoland with Nikki and the children I got home last night and decided that this morning I would complete the MIP I/O board.

So the MIP I/O card now has the Leo Bodnar BBI-32 card soldered to the inputs and mounted on the reverse of the MIP I/O distribution board, as a temporary measure I’ve used some self adhesive PCB mounts.

Back of the MIP I/O board.. wires soldered on to the reverse of the BBI-32.

While I was away on Friday the USB Socket B order turned up which enabled me to solder the socket on to the dedicated Leo Bodnar BBI-32 card which worked great.

So today I had to solder all the output wires to the board and the other end of the wires I crimped with bootlace crimps the same way that I did for my temporary ECAM switch panel as these crimps work great with the OpenCockpits USBOutputs card.

MIP I/O distribution card connected to my PC and me testing and configuring the encoders inputs.

Once all was ready I connected the BBI32 up to my flight simulator PC and ran the BBI-32 configuration software to configure inputs 1 – 2 and 3 – 4 as encoders, the remaining 9 inputs will be used as standard switches so no further configuration was needed.

The BBI-32 card that is now attached to the back of the MIP I/O card is dedicated to the MIP I/O board – I don’t intend on using the other unused 19 inputs as I ideally want to keep this I/O card fully dedicated to the MIP.

I have another 2 BBI-32 cards of which I will be using for my overhead panel once I am ready to start that.

I hope everyone that went to FSWeekend had a great time, I would have absolutely love to have gone but we had already pre-booked a trip to Legoland in Windsor (London), maybe next year for me! 🙂

MIP built, some nice trim added to the glare-shield and LCD screens ready!

Only spent a few hours on the cockpit today but things are moving along nicely, today I mainly relocated the painted MIP frame into my spare bedroom of where the cockpit will mainly be developed over winter as next year I’ll be looking to build a dedicated brick building for it in the garden.

So today to quickly summarise before I go into detail and post up some photo’s these are the main things that I achieved today:-

  • Constructed the MIP stand in the spare bedroom.
  • Mounted the seat on the newly constructed and painted seat stand.
  • Covered my glare-shield cover in faux leather.
  • Dismantled some monitors ready for the MIP panels.

I have been having withdrawal symptoms from not flying online recently so I did a couple of flights today (EGSS -EGAA) but afterwards I cleared out my spare room (what was my home-office) bought in the panels from the shed and using some newly acquired dry lining screws (black in colour) I then screwed the MIP frame together –  this is the first time since painting the panels that I have screwed it all together and I was really impressed with how it looked and one the MIP screen panels are mounted will look just fantastic! 🙂

The MIP frame constructed and seat fully mounted.

Next I went up into the loft and found the upper part of what is now my captain’s seat and then screwed and mounted the seat to the painted seat stand… things are now coming together nicely  – I have not yet re-located the centre pedestal from the shed into the house as yet as I’ll need the space when installing the new MIP panels, LCD screens, I/O hardware and electronics  for the MIP panels once they arrive – I’m hoping that the MIP panels, landing gear level and the other MIP panel’s will turn up this coming week so I can sort out the entire MIP next weekend as I’m now at a stage where I have done as much as I can until I get some more of my bits that I have ordered.

As I knew I was planning on covering the glare-sheild this weekend, I gave my mum a call during the week in the hope that she would have an upholstery stapler (a heavy duty staple gun) as being an artist she generally works with canvas and wooden frames and was happy to find that she did so that saved me spending yet more money and I was lucky enough to be able to borrow it…. So today came the time to cover the glare sheild sections in the faux leather to make it look like how the real aircraft does and I was extremely happy with the results.

Applying the Faux Leather over a layer of foam sheet to give a slight cushion effect to the glare-shield.

Since I first started building my Mk.1 cockpit I had been saving some sheet foam type of cloth which I finally managed to use by layering underneath the top glare-shield cover to give a padded feeling, see the photo on the right of how I achieved this by first stapling the foam layer and then applying the leather over the top… the end result is extremely authentic!

LCD screens removed and now bezel-less and ready for mounting into the MIP section.

Now that I had run out of staples and was unable to start the upper padded pedestal rim (that should be covered with faux leather too) I decided to take appart a couple of LCD monitors which I will be using inside my MIP frame (1x 17inch LCD monitor and 1x 19inch widescreen) I was surprised just how easy it was to remove the bezels and outer monitor housing – I’m now just waiting for the MIP monitor panels to arrieve so I can then ensure that when I mount the LCD screen’s they are in the required positions.

Plans for tomorrow then… I should probably spend the morning with the children (my two girls, Molly and Ruby) maybe take them to the park for a couple of hours if the weather is nice as I’ve neglected them a little the last couple of weekends! – Tomorrow afternoon though I’ll more than likely do another flight and then wire up my custom upper centre pedestal panel to a BBI-32 card and the USBOutputs card and do a video explaining how I utilise the USBOutputs card the BBI-32 as I know a friend of mine (Joerg) is interested in how the USBOutputs card works with the Wilco, so I’ll be demonstrating that 🙂

My achievement today.. Two bezel-less screens, MIP constructed and the glare-shield covered with faux leather!

So at the end of today this is what the MIP and glare-shield looks like – be aware that this is not where the actual MIP will be placed, this is just a temporary place so I can work on it over winter before moving to a larger room/building that I have planned for the back garden.

More updates tomorrow evening hopefully! – Thanks for reading! 🙂

First coat of Airbus ‘Structural Blue’ applied…

Another productive day yesterday – As planned I managed to sand down all the primed panels and pedestal sections as well as the seat mount and managed to give them their first coat of the Airbus structural blue colour (RAL5017) as well as roller-ing on the first layer of final colour I also sanded down the side-stick pedestal that  I started on earlier this year (still need to do some more work on this though!) and also made some holes for cable management in the MIP panels.

Started to prepare the side-stick pedestal

To start the day off I got all the panels and pedestal sections out of my shed and began to sand down the first layer of primer that I had previously painted onto my seat box/mount and then applied the second layer (to ensure it dried before the end of the day).


Next up I had to measure and precision drill holes for the wood screws into the main panels and connecting monitor shelves as I knew that drilling directly into MDF sheet without drilling pre-made holes would cause the MDF to split, by drilling it now before applying the
top coat of paint I was able to also counter-sink the screw heads making it look more professional once all screwed together, so I also counter-sunk the screw holes.

Making sure it all screws together and the screw holes all correctly align…

After I had counter-sunk the screw holes I then sealed the exposed MDF fibres once again with my spare emulsion (what I was using as primer) and then once that had dried decided to screw together the MIP to ensure all my measurements and precision drilled screw holes
lined up (which luckily they did ;))

Now that I had proven to myself that all should be ok once it was time to re-assemble in my spare room I then carefully unscrewed the structure and then lightly sanded down all the panels for the first layer of RAL5017.

Panel having its first coat of RAL5017

As you can see from the picture the first layer sits nicely on top of the primer layer and is starting to look much better 🙂

Once all panels were painted I left them out to dry, luckily as rain clouds started forming above the paint had dried within 30 minutes and I then stored them carefully in my shed to allow them to ‘fully harden’ over the working week so that come next weekend I can apply the two top coats and then hopefully start adding some of the faux leather trim to the glare shield and centre pedestal rim.

First layer of blue applied!

I still obviously need to prime, paint and add trim to the side-stick pedestal too of which I will do hopefully next weekend as I mainly concentrated on the MIP, Centre pedestal and seat mount this weekend.

Roll on next weekend!! – If I’m lucky I may even be able to re-locate the MIP frame inside the house,a assemble and maybe even mount the glare shield which should then add extra stability to the MIP frame.

New MIP parts just been ordered and Faux leather on its way!

The last 24 hours I’ve been thinking seriously about how I can achieve a really well finished MIP including the landing gear, auto-brake panel etc. I decided that it was time to go and order some bits from Marcin over at Skalarki (again)

I’ve just purchased the following items of which I should hopefully receive very soon seems as the MIP and pedestal is coming along really well I’ll soon need to add the MIP panels on to the framework.

  • A320 CS MIP Panels
  • A320 Landing gear panel & leaver
  • A320 Auto-brake panel
  • A320 CS Loud speaker panel.

I’ve also just purchased some faux leather on eBay this evening, expecting it to be here by Wednesday so I should now have everything I need to finish off the MIP stand, side-stick stand and pedestal (minus the top coat of paint which I plain to sort out at the weekend).

Very productive weekend… Priming, sanding and ECAM/Throttle/Engine panel

I had a very active weekend on my project this weekend, here is a quick summary of what I achieved this weekend:-

  • Primed my pedestal (that I constructed last weekend).
  • Primed my MIP frame and glare-shield casing.
  • Screwed and glued the glareshield housing together.
  • Confirmed that B&Q will mix RAL codes.
  • Designed and printed the upper centre panels for my pedestal (ECAM brightness, ECAM mode switches and LED indicators as well as Engine starter panel), mounted and soldered in all the electronics.

So a little more in-depth now then…

From my last post that I made about last weekend, I found some old emulsion paint (a creamy colour that I had previously used to decorate a room in my house) of which was surplus to requirements and perfect for priming my MDF pedestal, the reason for priming the MDF is two reasons really firstly to seal the MDF, as you may know MDF is terrible for absorbing moisture and after cutting and sanding my panels the MDF fibres are left very exposed by coating the MDF in emulsion you are sealing the MDF and will be less prone to swelling due to moisture etc. in the future the other reason is to provide a good surface to paint the final layer(s) on later 🙂

I also had a nice surprise yesterday when I came across my MIP stand components which I had previously cut out last year (I had completely forgotten I had done that :)) so on Saturday I gave my pedestal a good coat ensuring the outer/visible walls and all cut  edges had a good coat of emulsion, I left to dry overnight and then lightly sanded down with sandpaper to remove the brush strokes etc and generally give a smooth even feel and then applied a second coat and is now back in the shed… ready for next weekend along with my MIP frame of which I also primed!

The next step once all items have been primed, sanded, a second primer layer applied and sanded once more will then be to apply several layers of the final colour, as mentioned above B&Q have confirmed they can mix colours based on a RAL colour code which I am extremely happy to hear 🙂 – Weather permitting I’ll make a trip to B&Q this weekend to get the colour mixed for the pedestal and MIP frame – I have heard that prices for custom paint mix starts at £22.

Sorry to be working backward but on Saturday I concentrated on getting my upper pedestal panel complete (well started and complete) as I am using a customised Saitek Throttle I needed to incorporate that into a panel, currently the cheapest Airbus Throttle and Engine Starter panel is over £1,500 (well out of my price range when I have many more important things to sort out for now) so I decided to incorporate the ECAM panel, throttle and engine starter panel on a single panel but made to look as if it was three (photos to come). All the momentary switches, toggle switches, encoders and rotary switches are now mounted and spent many hours yesterday soldering LED’s, resistors and switches together…. all of which seem to be working OK but still need to do the final test if FSX later on.

The upper centre pedestal panels was designed by myself in Adobe Illustrator (a great vector design tool) and then printed off, laminated then then carefully cut out with a Stanley knife (I should probably use a Scalpel knife but I didn’t have one to hand) the holes for the switches and LED’s etc then marked the 3mm PVC foamex before drilling the holes…. the Foam-ex is semi ridged and gives the switches a sturdy   mounting plate. After that was ready and confirmed that the PVC holes lined up with the laminated panel holes I then used double sided tape to stick the laminated panel design to the PVC panel and then finally mounted all the switches and LED’s and the Saitek Custom Throttle.

All-in-all a VERY productive weekend… lets see what next weekend brings although on my ‘to-do’ list of which I hope to achieve is as follows:-

  • Get the side-stick stand out of the loft, get that finished – a whole needs cutting for my Logitech Attack3, sanded down, primed… ideally want to elevate the left side of the stick and provide a slanted look stick (using some precision cut and sanded MDF)
  • Apply the second coat of primer to the MIP frame panels.
  • Give a final sand to the pedestal now that it has had both of it’s primer layers applied.
  • Get some PVC Faux leather cloth ordered from eBay (during the week hopefully to have in time for the weekend)
  • Get the Airbus blue colour mixed by B&Q.
  • All going well and I do manage to get the Airbus blue paint from B&Q, I will then apply a total of three layers using a foam roller to the Pedestal and MIP stand… After leaving for a week to dry etc I will then aim to upholster the glare-shield top and pedestal rim using the Faux leather to complete the pedestal and glare-shield 🙂

Really good progress (in my opinion) so far, still loads more to do but I am looking forward to it and gives me stuff to do 🙂